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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Academic Commons now open

UACCM Library Complex
Throughout the summer, the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton has made many changes, additions and improvements.  Among the most visible of these is Timberwolf Crossing, a sidewalk project funded by a grant from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department located along the north side of campus near University Boulevard.  Another improvement that is less visible to passersby is the college's new Academic Commons, an area in the Library Complex specifically tailored to better assist students.

The Academic Commons provides and combines three of the college's existing services: the E. Allen Gordon Library, tutoring services, and a science study lab.  The idea to combine these services into one department came about from student comments.  Students voiced their need for a place to go on campus during the evenings to study.  All three departments were receiving requests for extended hours.  With limited funds, college administrators knew that the school's budget could not accommodate staffing all three departments in the evening.  By combining these services into one physical area, the cost to keep them open in the evening became affordable.  Hours of operation for the Academic Commons include Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

That is the practical reasoning behind the change. Library Director Rebecka Embry commented on the convenience factor of the collaborative project. "Now when students gather their research materials in the library, a writing tutor is available to help and review their writing.  Library services, tutoring services, and the science study lab seem to complement each other, and we think it will be more convenient for students to have them all in one space."

The E. Allen Gordon Library provides students with physical and electronic educational materials, quiet study areas, and study rooms for group learning.  The staff of the library assists students in finding information to complete homework assignments, class papers, and research.  Twenty-four desktop computers and 30 laptop computers are available for students to use with free printing.  The library's four study rooms can be used by students for up to two hours and can be reserved in advance to ensure availability.

UACCM's tutoring services staff provides academic support to help students become more efficient and effective independent learners.  They can assist with many areas including writing assignments, computer applications, professional development, college algebra, calculus, trigonometry, and more.  The professional tutors who make up the tutoring services staff hold associate, bachelor's, or master's degrees in various disciplines including business, English, education, and mathematics.  Students enjoy comfortable facilities in a friendly atmosphere while working independently, with a tutor, or in a study group.

The science study lab gives students an opportunity to study the skeletal system and tissue samples outside the classroom.  The lab features replicas to provide hands-on learning of the skeletal system as well as microscopes for students to explore various tissue samples.  Making these items available during extended hours allows students to further their classroom learning in ways they would likely be unable to do without access to the science study lab.

The addition of the Academic Commons is one of many ways that administration, faculty, and staff have worked to improve the quality of education and related offerings available at UACCM.  For more information about the Academic Commons or how students can utilize the services offered there, call the library at 501-977-2092 or tutoring services at 501-977-2091 or visit www.uaccm.edu.

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